By Steve Elliott
Not everyone in Colorado is happy with the proposed sales and excise taxes on recreational marijuana, which, if approved, will kick in on January 1 when sales begin.
A few dozen activists have joined to oppose the state tax rates, saying the taxes are simply too high and will motivate consumers to purchase pot from the black market instead, reports Kristen Wyatt of The Associated Press. They've organized three joint giveaways, which don't violate Colorado law as long as the joints are free and the recipients are 21 or older.
At a joint giveaway in Denver last week, activists jeered dispensary owners who support the tax, and also criticized Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who attended a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser to support the tax.
"If we overtax it, just watch," said Larisa Bolivar, a former dispensary owner who is now executive director of the campaign against the tax.
The taxes, if approved, would be higher than the taxes on alcohol, but lower than the taxes on tobacco. Tobacco has a 34 percent excise tax; state excise taxes for alcohol are 8 cents per gallon for beer, 7.33 cents per liter for wine, and 60 cents per liter for liquor.
The November 5 ballot measure includes a 15 percent excise tax and an initial 10 percent sales tax.